From the daily archives: Wednesday, February 6, 2013

By Mario Conde The Calexico City Council approved Measure “H” funding for 2012-13 School Crossing Guard Program in the amount of $140,000. The item was placed on the City Council agenda recommended by the Measure “H” Commission back in September when they approved the request from the Calexico Unified School District to fund the crossing guard program which the City has been supporting since 2011. Calexico Unified Superintendent Maria Ambriz reminded the Measure “H” Commission back in September that the crossing guards not only assist students in crossing with heavy traffic, but they also assist adults. During last Tuesday’s Calexico City Council meeting, the request to fund the Crossing Guard Program was before the Council. Former Councilman Guillermo Hermosillo said he didn’t support this proposal since he said this was like “Robin giving to the rich.” “Why does Calexico that has an $18 million budget is giving money to a District has a $70 million budget? If they (The District) can’t handle it they should turn it over to the police and have them pay the Department for the crossing people.” Hermosillo said and asked the Council to return this to the Measure “H” Commission for further review. Hermosillo was appointed by Mayor Pro Tem Bill Hodge to the Measure “H” commission for last meeting. Calexico resident Oscar Gonzalez agreed with Hermosillo and questioned how much money was on the Measure “H” commission fund. He also suggested the Council that instead of having crossing guards they can partner with ROP or One Stop Employment Services to hire 16 people that can work as cross guards and can work to hope City government open on Friday’s again. Mayor Pro Tem Bill Hodge said he will support the funding for the Crossing Guards but asked as to why the District has to come back every year. Councilman John Moreno said the District was in a financial crisis last year and would like the City to meet with District officials about what are they going to do for the next few years. The Council approved the funding for this year with a vote of 3-1 with Councilman Luis Castro casting the dissenting vote. Councilman Joong Kim left the Council Chambers during this discussion since it was a conflict of interest for him to participate in this item.

 

By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved Measure “H” funding for 2012-13 School Crossing Guard Program in the amount of $140,000.

The item was placed on the City Council agenda recommended by the Measure “H” Commission back in September when they approved the request from the Calexico Unified School District to fund the crossing guard program which the City has been supporting since 2011. Calexico Unified Superintendent Maria Ambriz reminded the Measure “H” Commission back in September that the crossing guards not only assist students in crossing with heavy traffic, but they also assist adults.

During last Tuesday’s Calexico City Council meeting, the request to fund the Crossing Guard Program was before the Council. Former Councilman Guillermo Hermosillo said he didn’t support this proposal since he said this was like “Robin giving to the rich.”

“Why does Calexico that has an $18 million budget is giving money to a District has a $70 million budget? If they (The District) can’t handle it they should turn it over to the police and have them pay the Department for the crossing people.” Hermosillo said and asked the Council to return this to the Measure “H” Commission for further review. Hermosillo was appointed by Mayor Pro Tem Bill Hodge to the Measure “H” commission for last meeting.

Calexico resident Oscar Gonzalez agreed with Hermosillo and questioned how much money was on the Measure “H” commission fund. He also suggested the Council that instead of having crossing guards they can partner with ROP or One Stop Employment Services to hire 16 people that can work as cross guards and can work to hope City government open on Friday’s again.

Mayor Pro Tem Bill Hodge said he will support the funding for the Crossing Guards but asked as to why the District has to come back every year.  Councilman John Moreno said the District was in a financial crisis last year and would like the City to meet with District officials about what are they going to do for the next few years.

The Council approved the funding for this year with a vote of 3-1 with Councilman Luis Castro casting the dissenting vote. Councilman Joong Kim left the Council Chambers during this discussion since it was a conflict of interest for him to participate in this item.

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By Mario Conde

The City Council of Calexico approved its Mid-Year Budget report last Tuesday that project a positive financial outlook for the City going forward.

City Manager Oscar Rodriquez presented the Mid-Year Budget document that provides the Council with a half-way view of the FY 2012-13 Annual Operating Budget that was adopted on September 27, 2012.  Rodriquez said that the purpose of this budget review is that it gives the Council information it needs to develop or change policies that could move the City in new direction. It also fulfills the requirement that the Council be involved in certain budget adjustments such as those that call for additional appropriations or reductions of revenue estimates.

Rodriquez said that there are no changes or recommended adjustments to the FY 2012-13 Adopted Annual Operating Budget beyond those already approved by Council during the year. The Revenue Report shows both December monthly totals and the six-month ended year-to-date General Fund revenue. The month of December saw the first installment of property tax at $787,605. The difference the monthly amount and year-to-date reflects amounts received previously for supplemental and unsecured property tax which flow every month, but at smaller amounts.

Rodriquez said that based on the budget, the Sales and Use Tax should be slightly over $2.0 million for the six month period.  “We estimated the month of December Sales Tax because it has not yet been received and also added in the Measure “H” collections to arrive at the total of $2,095,990.” Rodriquez said. Calexico Finance Director John Quinn said that City Departments are running at their budget and none of them have spent more than what they are suppose to. Quinn said that property taxes for this year will be stabilized and see a 2% growth rate in sales tax that will add additional revenue to get General Fund.

City Manager Rodriquez also said that Staff has been considering the pros and cons of converting to a biennial, or two year, budget. Increased emphasis on planning and goal setting is a major reason why the move is even being considered.

“We also believe the multi-year programs and projects will be better served by tighter control with a budget made for more than one year.” He said.

Rodriquez ended his presentation saying that they will meet their target revenues for the remainder of this fiscal year.

 

 

By Mario Conde

Imperial Valley College students made themselves present at Tuesday’s Calexico City Council meeting asking for the Council’s help regarding bus transportation.

The issue at hand is that many students are not picked up by the Express Calexico-IVC Imperial Valley Transit Bus because of the overload of passengers. Up to 20 students are not picked up daily by the IV Transit bus leaving students  tardy to class or even dropped from the class for excessive absences. Some students have been forced to walk from Encinas Ave on the east side of Calexico and walk all the way to the west side of Calexico just to have seat in the IVC line and get to college.

Some other students are forced to take the Line 100 IV Transit bus but they have to take a long trip. Whereas, the IVC Express takes 30 minutes the get to the college, students that take the Line 100 have to surround many areas that include Calexico, Heber, El Centro, and finally Imperial Valley College. That trip can take up to hour and half.

Various IVC Students showed up at the Calexico City Council meeting to ask for their support and do something to solve this problem.

IVC Student Omar Ochoa told the Council many students are being left daily and that is affecting their financial future.

IVC Student Government representative Manuel Reyes said that enrollment at IVC increases every year and most of them come from Calexico. “This happens frequently, Imperial County has the highest unemployment and gases are soaring, that why people are going back to college and that’s why we need to provide students with better transportation so they can continue their education.” He said.

IVC Student Government President, Lisa Tylenda, echoed what the other students said saying that she took the bus and was later to class and her teachers didn’t care like most of the teachers don’t care if students are late because of the bus.

“We want you to help us in this effort because we really need it. This is a big deal because all of our class schedules revolve around the bus times.” Tylenda said.

Supervisor John Renison said he will work with Councilman Bill Hodge and IVC Trustee Louis Wong to solve these issues and keep pushing for more transportation for IVC Students.  Mayor Pro Tem Hodge announced the ICTC will discuss this issue and provide some solutions at their meeting on Feb. 28 and said he will do anything in his power to find a quick solution for this.

 

By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved Measure “H” funding for feasibility study for the main Fire and Police facilities.

Calexico Fire Chief Pete Mercado asked for financial assistance in funding the cost of a public safety feasibility study for our main fire and policy facility. The cost of the public safety feasibility study is $19,950 and would try to see how to best serve the Fire and Police departments’ aging facilities.

The study will look at the city’s growth to the north and how to best address it. It will look at all factors influencing location of the department and whether the existing location will work to serve the community’s needs, and/or a new location will be needed. The focus of the study will be on the Fire Department and the Police Department will be secondary.

The quotation for this study, Mercado said, would fulfill the first phase of the project which is to identify what the structural issues are and what options are feasible for restoration or relocation to provide a safe and habitable facility for public safety. This phase would be tasked with providing a Conceptual Feasibility Study that would serve as an assessment of the current infrastructure.

There are two tasks that will be addressed in the phase which include an assessment of the existing site Fire Department building condition followed by documentation in the form a written report on a facility evaluation.

“We need to properly analyze where the City is growing. Depending on what the study findings are, we may need to temporary relocate staff. Before we jump into spending lots of money we need to find out the basics.”City Manager Oscar Rodriquez said.

The feasibility study is the first step and Phase I in the project. The study will inform the City if rehabilitation and expansion of the existing facility is a conceptually reasonable approach or not. The study will investigate if the existing structure can be seismically upgraded and retrofitted to comply with current building codes, life safety, accessibility, and Essential Services Act.

The Council approved this request with a vote of 5-0.

 
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